Slamming the “ugly display of temper” by Virbhadra Singh after he threatened to break cameras of mediapersons,Press Council chief Markandey Katju today said such increasingly intolerant behaviour by politicians against journalists was unacceptable in democracy.
“It is deeply regrettable that certain politicians are of late becoming increasingly intolerant towards the media,and are not behaving in a manner which is expected of them in a democracy,” he said in a statement here.
“The latest instance of such undemocratic behaviour is the alleged statement of a senior politician that he will break the camera of a journalist when asked about some allegations against him,” Katju said in a refernce to the Congress leader.
The Press Council of India chairperson said that in a democracy it was the people who were supreme and politicians were only servants of the people.
Media acted as an agent of the people for giving them information about their servants and intolerant behaviour by politicians had no place in a democracy.
“If something untrue is published about a politician he has certainly a right to get his rejoinder published,but losing one’s balance or giving an ugly display of temper is just not acceptable in a democracy,” Katju said.
Singh had threatened to break the cameras of mediapersons on being questioned about allegations of corruption against him at Ani in Kullu district last evening.
In his statement,Katju also referred to previous instances where he felt that the political class had not been tolerant enough towards the media.
“Before that there was a statement of a Chief Minister of a certain state that a section of the media is doing dadagiri and spreading negative canards about the state government,” Katju said in his statement.
He was apparently referring to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s remarks.
Katju said that in some states some “political workers (evidently at the orders of their leaders ) had physically assaulted media people and even vandalised the office of a leading newspaper in Mumbai.”
“Politicians must realise that in a democracy people have a right to criticise them,and the media has a right to enquire about the activities of politicians and inform the public about it,” Katju said.
He said that in a democracy it was the people who were supreme,and politicians were only servants of the people.
“Since people are the masters in a democracy they have a right to know how their servants (which includes politicians,Judges,bureaucrats,policemen,etc ) are functioning,and it is often through the media that they know about this,” Katju said.